We have an adorable, part-time, outdoor cat here at the Nest. His name is Johnny. Here’s a low quality GIF of his fuzzy face:
Rob and I would love nothing more than to have Johnny as a permanent feline resident here at the Nest. But, unfortunately, our two mostly-inside cats, Carly and Stella, have different plans. Despite Johnny’s even temperament and lack o’man parts, our two possessive ladies refuse to accept him. As a result, if the weather is bad, we must confine Johnny to the man cave when we bring him inside (with Carly and Stella always sulking on the other side of the door).
Don’t feel too bad for Johnny, though:
- We’ve collected some necessities for Johnny’s occasional sleepovers. A towel and mango box to sleep in (he LOVES it), several toys, food and water dishes, and his own litter box. We put them away when he leaves and bring them back out for his nights in.
- In an effort to make Johnny seem “owned”, we have attempted to put collars on him, but they disappear within days (either at Johnny’s own paw or someone else removes them). Update, as of this evening, he has “lost” his third collar — and smells like he’s been in someone else’s home.
- Rob and I happen to know that we are two of six (SIX!) residents in our complex who feed and love this cat. But, we’re pretty sure Johnny likes us best.
In the past couple of weeks, night temperatures have dropped here in the valley of the sun. Arizona natives know that, in some places, temperatures that dip into the 30s aren’t considered that cold. But listen here, this isn’t Minnesota. When it drops under 70 degrees, we start breaking out coats and boots. Get any lower, and it’s gloves and snow hats for us. But, when the temperatures are low enough to warrant plant blankets (seriously, we don’t want our plants to freeze), outdoor kitties should come inside.
But what about the nights that we can’t find Johnny? Or, worse, the nights that he refuses to stay inside all night? Sometimes, Johnny will come in for a snack and a nap, but at two in the morning, wakes with a start like he’s late for work. He will then cry at the door non-stop, while reaching for the doorknob. If we do not promptly take this hint, Johnny will find the closest place to spritz. That’s right, I said spritz. The other night, when we decided to wait for a commercial break to take him out, he crouched in our DVD drawer and took a tiny little piss. What gives, cat?! Out you go.
This dilemma leads us to the real reason for this post: The Upcycled Cat Hut. We gotta know that Johnny isn’t going to freeze to death when we have to put him outside to prevent an onslaught o’urine.
Since I’m still unemployed, and it’s the holidays, I unfortunately don’t have money to spend on a nice bed for Johnny. But, even if I did, I worry that the series of stray cats in our neighborhood would come by to spray it, rendering it useless for Johnny to sleep in. So I figured, based on Johnny’s love of his mango box, a cardboard box hut was the way to go as a
cheap free alternative.
That is where Costco boxes come in.The two lovely boxes for the structure of this box are Costco grocery leftovers; just the right size for what I needed. Once I had the structure picked out, the rest of the process took me about fifteen minutes, a few snips of the scissors, and cost me nothing. You ready?
Here is a list of materials that I used for the UCH (shut up, I love acronyms):
- Two boxes (one for the top, one for the bottom)
- Two styrofoam inserts (saved from the packaging a toolbox)
- Two old blankets (approved for kitty use/ to go outside)
- Scissors/exacto knife
That’s it! Seriously!
Step 1: Acquire boxes.
Step 2: Cut down the styrofoam inserts to fit in the base.
Step 3: Create a nice little nest in the middle with blanket #1.
Step 4: Cram the top box onto the base. I had to raise the front up higher than the back so Johnny could fit into the box.
Step 5: Allow your jealous indoor cat to inspect the box. (This step is optional)
Step 6: Move the box to your desired location.
Step 7: Wrap the box in blanket #2, as indoor cat #2 stares at you through the window. (Also, I let the blanket hang over the entrance for extra warmth)
Step 8: Wait to see if your little furry actually uses the box. I have yet to see Johnny climb into it, but I like to thing he snuggles down at night.
See! I told you it was going to be easy! If you make your own Cat Hut, let me know! I want to see it!
PS: Bless you Costco, my cat can sleep warm at night (inside or outside) because of your free boxes.